2009-12-24 / Features

How To Make Your New Year's Resolution Last

Failed New Year's resolutions are a dime a dozen. That promise to go to the gym every day dwindles to three days a week, then two days a week, before falling into “whenever I can make it” territory. Diet and weight loss resolutions are among the most common, year after year, which says a lot about what kind of results people are getting from the promises they make to themselves.

The problem with so many resolutions is that they're simply too strenuous, too unforgiving and just plain unrealistic. We don't become superhuman masters of willpower with the turning of the year, nor do our busy schedules change. The best, most effective resolutions, especially for weight loss, are the ones that fit in with the lives we're already living.

Resolutions for weight loss and those for eating better can easily go hand in hand. One key to a positive, effective plan for carrying out these resolutions is to not view food as the enemy - or, at least, not all food. As a first step, start taking a good, hard look at the ingredient list on foods that you buy.

You should also be honest with yourself about your eating habits. If you're a habitual snacker in the mid-afternoon, own up to it. Next, armed with that knowledge, shop smart and stock better-for-you options for your snacks. Many people starting out on new eating regimens buy products that sound "healthy," but don't satisfy cravings and can lead to too much snacking.

Look for products that you know you like, but find versions that incorporate natural ingredients or offer lower fat options. For example, if you crave potato chips, Cape Cod Potato Chips are a good option. The ingredient list on their 40 percent reduced fat kettle-cooked chips is refreshingly simple: potatoes, canola oil and salt. What's even better is that they don't add chemicals to reduce the fat content – they simply flash-bake the freshly-cut potatoes.

When those hunger pangs come around, take a no-nonsense approach with yourself. Limit your intake by putting what you're eating in a small bowl, which automatically helps you stop eating, or look at the nutritional label and stick to the serving size listed on the product. And eat slowly – you’ll feel full on a smaller amount of food if you don't rush it. If you've got a sweet tooth, skip the candy bars and find some dark chocolate that you can break off in small pieces. Let one piece melt on your tongue and you'll cut the craving with a minimal intake of calories.

If you’re not a snacker, you can still apply those ideas to your main meals. Be sure to choose main dishes that are made with natural ingredients and give yourself some flavor varieties. Add in Cape Cod Potato Chips as a side (they're available in nearly 10 different varieties to complimentwhatever you're serving), and treat yourself to a dark chocolate square for dessert. To make yourself eat more slowly – and pay attention to what and how much you're eating – turn off the TV, step away from the computer and have a sit-down meal with the family or a friend.

If you add in simple exercise, like going for walks on your work breaks, you'll be taking an extra step toward a healthier lifestyle, without having to turn your world upside down. With those simple adjustments, this can be the year that your resolution finally lasts through the whole year.

Return to top